“My Hands Smell like Money” by Giacomo Pope


I’m walking home and I’ve found a coin in my pocket. It’s raining and I’m buried inside my coat, rolling the coin around my fingers.

I think about lifting my hand up to my face and sniffing off that dirty-blood smell from loose change.

I think about being not-me and seeing me smelling my fingers. That a tired man smelling his fingers is not something other people should have to see.

I continue rubbing the coin.

On my way home I pass a shop.

I pass this shop every day and on most days I go inside to buy food.

Each day I walk to work, I sit in a chair for 8 hours, and then I walk home and buy food. This life is making me soft and I feel my body ripening under fluorescent lighting. My stomach feels like a rotten peach as it folds over my clothes. I’m not doing anything to fix this except wearing looser clothing.

Today I have food at home waiting for me so I don’t need to use the shop, but hey, I have this coin. So I go in.

I’m gonna use my coin.

I walk with purpose, big steps that say “Watch out everyone! Consumer coming through!”

There’s a promotion. My coin’s worth one vegan, organic “nut bar”. It’s basically just peanuts glued together with crushed dates and it’s high in calories.

The packaging is earth tones, covered in leaves. This bar is gluten-free. It contains only natural ingredients. This bar is healthy. I am being a good and responsible consumer.

I can imagine scrolling past the tweet “I recommend eating this nut bar”, which I would read internally with a slow, monotone voice.

I think about the fact that peanuts aren’t nuts. “Did you know that peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re actually peas?”

Fuck I’m boring.

I’ve actually said that to people face-to-face.

“They’re actually peas”.


I’m nearly home and a man comes up to me, he asks me for change.

He looks like I look, except his loose clothes have holes and he probably would wash if he could. I just don’t.

I’m looking at him with a mouth half full of pea bar.

I feel like a piece of shit. I’m walking home to eat food, while eating food, and my hands smell like money (I think) — but I’ve got no change.

“I don’t have any money, but I have this?”, and I hold out the snack.

“What is it?”, he said.

“A nut bar”, I lied.

The man took the food.

I kept walking. I could see my house.

My kitchen was glowing and I could see Holly cooking food.

I was still picking organic food out from between my teeth while walking to my next meal.

I am gross excess.

The inside of my house is warm. I have a toilet.

There’s a dude who shits in the ally opposite. He doesn’t have a choice.

I shit into clean water and scrub my ass with paper and then wash away the left over shit from my hands with cleaner water.

After I shit, my hands smell like flowers.

I didn’t let the man choose what to do with my change. Instead I bought him a nut bar, ate half of it and handed it over spit-wet and crumbling.

I imagined the guy biting into the bar and realising as he swallowed it was basically crushed peanuts.

I imagined a stomach so empty that I ate food I was allergic to anyway, that I was sitting on the stone steps outside the art school while it rained and my throat was swelling.

That I kept chewing and swallowing the food as my face went red and my eyes started to close up.

Thinking “fuck you hunger” and hoping to ride out the itching. Sweating under my hat while my lungs tightened to fists and my stomach acid burnt hot; still hungry after finishing off 1/2 of a stranger’s snack that they bought unconsciously on their way home, just to eat dinner out of the rain.


Recently, Giacomo has been writing poems & releasing spoken word music. When not doing those things, he is writing his thesis on black holes and running Neutral Spaces.

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